General Dental Informtion

Ways to Prevent Tooth Decay

ways to prevent tooth decay

Do not wait for your teeth to get hurt to care for them! Prevent tooth decay by observing dental hygiene and visiting your dentist for regular checkups. Preventing tooth decay is among the actions that you can take to guarantee the health of your teeth. Are you sure that you have done all you could to prevent the formation of holes in your teeth?

Understanding Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can be caused by ordinary bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria feed on the food debris left in your mouth and produce acids. Approximately 20 minutes after eating, the combination of bacteria, food debris, acid, and saliva forms a matter called plaque that covers your teeth. If these plaques are not removed immediately, the process of tooth decay will start. Over time, these plaques will turn into a matter called tartar that is even harder to remove. Finally, these plaques and tartars lead to periodontal diseases.

Besides gum diseases, plaques affect the enamel and cause the creation of holes in your teeth. At first, these holes are not painful. But without proper care, the holes become larger and lead to problems. The chewing surface of molar teeth and the spaces are prone to tooth decay.

tooth decay diagnosis

Tooth Decay Criminals

Starch and sugar (carbohydrates) are the most popular causes of caries and the formation of cavities in your teeth. Sticky foods are another cause of cavities since they stick to the tooth and strengthen the bacteria. Besides, the consumption of too many snacks and junk foods increases the risk of cavities since these foods enhance the speed of development of plaques.

Treatment & Prevention of Tooth Decay

There are many ways to treat and prevent dental caries. All of these methods are carried out on the basis of the severity of the decay.

  1. Decay Treatment by Fluoride: This method can restore the enamel when the cavity is small. This treatment is performed by using toothpaste containing fluoride and mouthwash.
  2. Dental Fillings: The main treatment for dental caries and is also known as restoration. The materials used in this method are tooth-colored resin composites, porcelain, or a combination of different materials.
  3. Crown: When the cavity is too large and the teeth are weakened crown is the best option. It can be made of gold, resin, porcelain attached to metal, or any other materials that is placed on the tooth.
  4. Root Canal Treatment: This treatment can be used when the tooth is completely damaged or caries have moved to the pulp.
  5. Tooth Extraction: When dental caries has reached a point that it cannot be treated, the tooth should be extracted.
  6. Use Fissure Sealant. The health centers recommend using fissure sealant for all middle school children. They can be beneficial for adults and children as well. Fissure sealants are plastic and protective covers that protect the teeth from grooves and dental stains that food debris and bacteria are inclined to accumulate inside them. Fissure sealants are painted on the back teeth.
  7. Regular Dental Follow-up. Consult your dentist regarding the number of appointments for preserving your oral health. Regular dental exams, professional cleaning of your teeth, and other treatment methods can help to prevent dental caries and the problems in that regard.
  8. Limit your repetitive snacks during the day. Repetitive eating or drinking, especially sweet foods can expose your teeth to frequent attacks. The bacteria in your mouth use the foods and carbohydrates to produce acid and destroy your enamel. In this case, the best thing that you can do instead of the above said actions is to drink water repeatedly and limit your snacks to the minimum.
  9. Eat foods that are beneficial for the health of your teeth. An appropriate diet is quite crucial in all aspects of health, especially oral health. Foods such as potato chips or cookies that get stuck in your teeth for a longer time, increase the chance of dental caries. The processed or sweet foods are not considered as good options for consumption. Instead, eat fresh vegetables and fruits since they increase the salivary flow and lead to accumulation of the minerals in the enamel.
  10. An antibacterial treatment. Sometimes some medical problems can make you susceptible to erosion and tooth decay. In this case, it is recommended to consult a dentist about using antibacterial mouthwash that can be used to kill harmful bacteria and prevent tooth decay.
  11. The best method to prevent tooth decay is practicing oral hygiene. Besides, regular brushing, flossing, and paying a visit to a dentist twice a year for a dental checkup are a necessity for healthy teeth.

Be aware of the size of your tooth decay

The first step in controlling oral hygiene is to know the size of the cavities. The best way in this regard is a dental exam by a dentist. Through regular exams and discussion with your dentist, you can become aware of your status and know which treatment method is best for you. Besides, making changes in oral hygiene and diet are among the methods for preventing tooth decay. When you are aware of the size of your tooth decay, you can select a better and more effective approach to improve your oral health.

The smaller the size of decay, the fewer appointments are required. During your regular dental visits, you can find out about the size of your cavities with the help of your dentist and consult with your dentist in that regard.

Brushing Teeth for Preventing Tooth Decay

One of the most obvious ways to prevent tooth decay is brushing your teeth. Regular and accurate brushing is vital for your oral health. In fact, there are a billion microbes that enter your mouth due to what you eat and drink. Some of them are among the Normal flora, i.e. they exist naturally, however, some of them are cariogenic and cause dental caries. They feed on the sugar in the food or beverages that we eat and turn the debris into biofilms, also known as plaques. These plaques produce acids that cover the enamel and cause dental caries.

Brushing is among the vital ways for preventing tooth decay, which helps getting rid of the bacteria inside the mouth and eliminating sugar and food debris. Make sure to brush your teeth before and after sleeping. Brushing before going to bed is of great importance since it prevents the formation of acids that are harmful to the enamel.

Reduce the Sweet & Acidic Beverages & Drink more Water

Reducing acidic and sweet drinks is among the ways to prevent tooth decay.  Exposing your teeth to coffee or tea for a long time accompanied by sugar or extra milk can increase the risk of dental caries. Enjoy coffee but wash your mouth afterward. The harmful sugars remain in your saliva for a longer time. Drinking coffee with a straw can help you keep the sugar-containing fluids away from your saliva.

Quit Smoking

It goes without saying that smoking can cause a variety of medical problems. However, some people are unaware of the damages to their mouth, gums, and teeth caused by smoking and using tobacco. This unhealthy habit can make your teeth fall off or even lead to cancer. One of the best ways to prevent dental caries is to quit smoking. Therefore, if you are concerned about your tooth decay avoid smoking. Heavy smokers are recommended to carry out scaling every three months.

Prevention of Tooth Decay FAQ

1-How to Prevent Progression of Tooth Decay?

Brush your teeth using a toothpaste containing fluoride. Wash your mouth regularly. Pay a visit to the dentist twice a year. Limit your repetitive snacks during the day. Eat healthy food and consider an antibacterial treatment. All of the above said activities are among the ways to prevent tooth decay.

2-What Are the Symptoms of Tooth Decay

Sensitivity, toothache, visible holes on the tooth, and change of color are among the serious symptoms of dental caries.

3-What Is the Treatment of Tooth Decay?

You should go to a dentist to detect the size of the decay by taking dental images. Based on the amount of the cavity, the dentist will decide whether to fill the tooth or perform root canal treatment. The dentist will perform scaling, if necessary.

4-The Complications Caused by Failure to Treat Tooth Decay?

Failure to treat tooth decay can increase the cavities and cause the following problems. The involvement of tooth nerves, development of infection around the decayed tooth, increasing the risk of tooth fracture, the problem in chewing food, dental abscess, and can cause infection can get into the bloodstream.

5-What Kinds of Food Can Prevent Tooth Decay?

It is recommended to eat fruits, vegetables rich in fiber such as carrots and apples, foods rich in calcium, sugar-free gum, drink lots of water, use toothpaste or mouthwash that contains fluoride, and avoid sticky foods containing sugar and sweet foods to prevent tooth decay.

6-How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children?

Dental hygiene must be observed in children from infancy. If you noticed any stain or change of color in the milk teeth of your child immediately go to a dentist. You can use finger toothbrush for children since they cannot brush their teeth. When they grew up, you can encourage them to brush their teeth with musical or cartoon character toothbrushes. Teach the proper way of brushing kindly and by playing a game.

Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist
About Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

Dr. Jamilian, an orthodontist, has a specialized fellowship in orthodontic surgery and maxillofacial abnormalities and is a professor in the orthodontics department of the Dentistry School of the Islamic Azad University. He is member of Iranian and European Board of Orthodontics (EBO) and is a member of the Iranian, American and European Orthodontists Association.

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